Creativity and Ramblings from the heart of NYC and around the World

Friday, September 15, 2006

Dan's Here in ITALY!!!

He arrived last night from Oxford, UK by way of Frankfurt amidst a crazy rain storm.
After both having had such hectic weeks lately it was nice to sleep in!! We lunched at Cafe italiano. Sitting on the second floor by the front you can see everyone who walks in to the restaurant. We enjoyed our pastas and bruschetta along with coffees and a small shared dessert. Yum!

We wandered over to the Uffizi and figured out where to reserve tickets. The next available day was Sunday...and since museums in Florence are closed on Mondays - Sunday at 9:30am it is! It's got to be better than the 3-4 hour wait in the line outside!!! Next - a spot of shopping! (I bought a beautiful wool tweed jacket with touches of satin ruffle. It'll be great for the Opera this fall/winter!)

We checked out another view of the Arno and walked over to the Duomo. After climbing the 463 stairs to the top of the Duomo, you are treated to a spectacular 360 degree view of the city of Florence.

Definitely something that should be top on your list!

Dan, armed with my camera, took these shots. It's a true shame that his spiffy camera broke just before this trip. He made due with my easy point-n-shoot though.
There is a fire in the hills that you can smell on the air. An interesting smell added to the mix of body odor and ancient stone. It was quite warm day (89F)and after having poured rain at 62F last night it's very welcome. A warning to those that want to make this climb... much of the climb is in a VERY confined space so claustrophobics should beware.
You are also treated to some amazing views of Brunelleschi's construction and Vasari's Last Judgement fresco and out the windows in the stairwells both up and down. We went into the Duomo on the ground level and had about 5 minutes before it closed. Be aware that no bare shoulders are allowed in the churches in Florence, so ladies make sure on warm days to have a wrap or sweater to cover them. Otherwise they will give you a large tissue poncho to cover-up with. Yes, I had a sweater and a wrap. :-)

Definitely something that should be top on your list!

Next stop? The museum behind the Duomo, Museo dell' Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore.
It's located on the spot where Michelangelo carved the David (now housed in the Accademia.) The two cantorie (singing galleries)carved by Luca della Robbia and Donatello were amazing and Donatello's statue of Mary Magdalene was amazing. We were also able to see 9 out of the 10 original bronze panels from the 'Gates of Paradise' (the east doors of the Baptistery) by Lorenzo Ghiberti. Michelangelo's Pieta was moving as well. On the left is a photo of the Arte della Lana (the Wool Guild) coat-of-arms, the patron of this museum since 1331.

By this point we are hungry again and I referred to the list of restaurants that had been recommended to me... First stop?

Il Latini!

Tucked away in a back street we finally happened upon it...we were sure this was the place because of the crowd gathered outside. No, we didn't have a reservation (tel: 055-210-916) for the 7:30pm seating (there are only two seatings -- 7:30pm & 9:30pm.) Our option? Get in line and hold your ground hoping to get a fill-in spot!
We were in line around 7:40pm and by 8pm the line was swinging round the block.

What do you do to make the time pass? Eat the Wine, Cheese and Sausage that they pass trays around of to keep the waiting crowds happy until spots open up. You do have to keep an eye on your spot as those in the line slowly edge forward... hold your ground!
The wait? The wait can be ages but we were lucky only to wait an hour. What awaited us?

You are seated cafeteria style at long tables. Most all of the patrons are friendly and you see conversations starting up all over.

That said - we're all here for the food!! Where to begin?
The Appetizer assortment of meats, cheeses and pate on toast. Yum! We also decided to simply drink the bottled house Chianti wine already on the table. Why not. Yum!
They are very smart with the display and presentation... What's that over Dan's shoulder?

They stuffed the back of a pigs head with homemade sausage and slice it right off the back. This was the most photo-graphed spot in the house all night! It's what's on the plate I'm holding in the photograph above. Hanging from the ceiling were wrapped pieces of Prosciutto that seemed to be aging. Next course?

PASTA! I have to say that this was my least favorite part of the meal... the ravioli was just OK. It was...basic but not nearly as good as some I get in NYC... apparently Dan agreed...
This is a photo of him laughing as he just had told me that the ravioli tasted like Chef Boyardi! Later in the evening the couple next to us from Boston told us that the French couple next to them had told them to skip the Ravioli because... you guessed it -- it tastes like Chef Boyardi! How funny is that!

Il Latini specializes in roasted meats... here we see Dan with the veal and that's my lamb. I can recommend the white beans they serve on the side too - YUM!!!

I don't have photos of the torte we shared for dessert, the coffees, the dessert wine or the two rounds of Lemoncello - most of which was given on the house by the manager. When the meal was finished and we were ready to leave (at 1:15am), the top dog (not sure if he's the head manager or the owner -- he's the man by the front door in the blue shirt near Dan in the photo of the line) came over and asked our waiter what we had. He wrote about half of it down on the bill and handed it to Dan. Then he looked at me, winked at me and took the bill back... crossed out the price and wrote a smaller amount "because of her blue eyes!" Thanks Mom and Dad!

We wandered the long way back to the hotel by way of some window shopping. What a great day!


Blogger Isela: Purling Sprite said...

Seems so lovely over there. I am glad that Dan was able to join you. Enjoy your trip :)

9:12 PM

Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

You are such a lucky gal- always traveling and on some sort of amazing journey. I am very jealous.
This looks like a fabulous time!

3:51 PM

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